Security was extra-high in Paris as authorities braced for resurgent yellow vest anger, and Paris police said some 70 people were detained by mid-morning. Multiple protest events are being held around Paris and other cities Saturday for the 23rd weekend of the yellow vest movement.
President Emmanuel Macron -the target of many demonstrators' anger -seems to be clawing back support as he tries to quell the movement with a national political debate. Recent polls show Macron's approval ratings rising.
As protesters marched, lawmakers in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, voted 387-92 to pass a bill aimed at preventing violence during protests and helping authorities maintain order.
The Tax & Legal Reform League, an activist group, called the protest after marshaling about 20,000 people outside the presidential office in an initial demonstration a week before this, and another 10,000, according to organizers and Taiwanese media.
Mayor Steeve Briois, a leader in France’s anti-immigrant National Front, has allowed the demonstrators to gather around wood fires in a municipal parking lot, and he put up a sign at the entrance to town declaring its support for the Yellow Vests.
The President will consult in the morning with an array of national and local officials as he tries to get a handle on the ballooning protests triggered by anger at his policies, and a growing sense that they favour the rich.
The gas tax is part of a continuing effort started by France in 2014 to regularly raise the taxes on fossil fuels to fight global climate change. The Yellow Vest protests against the tax increase have become the biggest obstacle yet to such attempts to encourage conservation and alternative energy use.
These are the faces of France's yellow vest movement, an array of people with grievances so varied that sometimes it's hard to see what they have in common other than the fluorescent vests glowing from their chests.
Ambulance workers and students joined anti-government demonstrations after hundreds were arrested or wounded in confrontations in Paris over the weekend. It’s the third week of the “Yellow Vest” protests that have been spurred on by a tax on gas.